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Thread: VFT darkness requirements? (light pollution)

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    grumpus's Avatar
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    VFT darkness requirements? (light pollution)

    I want to set up a VFT window shelf (and perhaps a shadier Drosera shelf under it...) outside a third story bedroom window. The shelf would be mounted on the side of a brick chimney facing south-by-southwest, and would be shaded until mid-day by the house, then would receive full sun the rest of the day.

    The potential problem I'm wondering about is a streetlight that's mounted on a pole in the back yard. It sits at the same height and is only about 40 feet (~13 meters) west from the shelf's spot and shines directly on it. It isn't a stunning amount of light, but it's FAR brighter than a full moon and lights that wall from dusk to dawn.

    So, I see a lot of discussions about photoperiods and adequate amounts of light, but I can't find anything about an adequate amount of *dark*. Do VFT's need a nice dark night period or can they do ok in a "white nights" situation - like, say, 40 feet from a 150-watt High Pressure Sodium streetlight?

    I'm guessing the answer is "no," and I'm going to need to find a new spot or rig up something to give them a dark night. But I don't know, and I'm guessing someone here does.

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    sea bear returns! theyellowdart's Avatar
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    I'm not too sure about the "dark requirements," but is there any way you could put some kind of wall up between the light and the plant shelf?
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    I'd have to do some exact checking on the angles of the streetlight vs. the sun. Off the top of my head, I'd say the light sits at about the same height as the setting sun coming through the far trees. So it would probably require blocking the last hour or two of sunlight as well to make it a permanent shade.

    I could always rig up a cover to put on them at night, but I'd like to avoid having to tend them twice a day every day like that. Also, even blocking the direct beams of light would still leave a lot of ambient light falling on the plants.

    In wondering about this, I notice the surrounding trees very clearly stop their growth around 20 feet from the light. It's obvious when you look for it - the trees are asymmetrically concave in a shape that almost exactly fits a 20-foot-radius sphere around the bulb.

    Maybe since I'm twice that distance away I'd be ok, but I have no idea. Those are oak trees, not VFTs. ;D


    P.S. Heh, yellowdart, regarding your sig... I just rescued two small VFTs in 2-inch pots from Lowe's today. I removed them from deathcubes and am going to try to harden them slowly for a week or so before going outside. You know, so they can get used to having crazy things like water, air and light... lol.

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    sea bear returns! theyellowdart's Avatar
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    Yeah, you don't really want to lose that extra hour or two of full sun in addition to no morning sun, and I wouldn't want to tend to them twice a day either.

    The only way to really find out is to try it with one plant and see how it works. I honestly don't think it will be much of a problem though, especially at that distance.
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    Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about a street light. At 40 feet away its intensity compared to the sun will be much much less. That being said, I have no real proof to back up this claim other than the observation of plants and street lights coexisting in many areas.

    -cb

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    sea bear returns! theyellowdart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB1099 View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about a street light. At 40 feet away its intensity compared to the sun will be much much less. That being said, I have no real proof to back up this claim other than the observation of plants and street lights coexisting in many areas.

    -cb
    Well said. I would have written the same thing if I could figure out a way to transfer my thoughts onto paper a little better. lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpus View Post
    I want to set up a VFT window shelf (and perhaps a shadier Drosera shelf under it...) outside a third story bedroom window. The shelf would be mounted on the side of a brick chimney facing south-by-southwest, and would be shaded until mid-day by the house, then would receive full sun the rest of the day.

    The potential problem I'm wondering about is a streetlight that's mounted on a pole in the back yard. It sits at the same height and is only about 40 feet (~13 meters) west from the shelf's spot and shines directly on it. It isn't a stunning amount of light, but it's FAR brighter than a full moon and lights that wall from dusk to dawn.

    So, I see a lot of discussions about photoperiods and adequate amounts of light, but I can't find anything about an adequate amount of *dark*. Do VFT's need a nice dark night period or can they do ok in a "white nights" situation - like, say, 40 feet from a 150-watt High Pressure Sodium streetlight?

    I'm guessing the answer is "no," and I'm going to need to find a new spot or rig up something to give them a dark night. But I don't know, and I'm guessing someone here does.
    I wouldn't give it a second thought. Those poor plants are usually light-starved and a neighboring streetlight should be the least of your concerns. The same or similar circumstances occur in almost every urban setting and my plants are all fine -- even with "light pollution."
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Ok, I'll give it a whirl. If they don't do well I can always move them.

    I'm not really worried so much about killing the plants as I am curious about their circadian rhythms. I'm pretty sure the streetlight is bright enough to give them a 24-hour photoperiod; I just don't know if that's a problem for Dionaea, and since you guys seem unconcerned this must not come up as a common problem - or a problem at all.

    So let's find out... heh.

    Thanks for the fast replies. ;D

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